Eliza Newlin Carney

Eliza Newlin Carney is a weekly columnist at The American Prospect. Her email is ecarney@prospect.org.


Recent Articles

When the Rules Matter After All

(AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
When politicians and their cronies violate ethics and campaign-finance rules, two things can stop them: A legal crackdown, or a political backlash. Both may now be starting to put the brakes on a political corruption spree that has been building for years and has spun out of control under President Trump. The fallout could reach all the way to the White House, where Trump now stands directly implicated in campaign-finance violations, and may give Democrats a big assist in this fall’s midterms. Though all eyes were focused this week on Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen , both declared guilty on eight counts each of bank, tax, and other criminal violations, the anti-corruption backlash goes well beyond Trump’s former campaign manager and his ex-personal lawyer and fixer. Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani may insist that “truth isn’t truth,” but judges, jurors and voters are reasserting that rules do matter after all. Cohen’s guilty plea on two campaign-finance...

Trump's and the Koch Brothers' War on Disclosure

(AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
The Treasury Department’s recent move to expand the cloak of secrecy that shrouds political “dark money” groups has triggered understandable outcry from watchdogs and Democrats worried about foreign interference in U.S. elections. Under the new rules, nonprofits that spend money on elections are no longer required to share the names of their big donors with the Internal Revenue Service. Montana Governor Steve Bullock, a Democrat, has sued the Trump administration on the grounds that Treasury violated procedural rules when it loosened the nonprofit reporting requirements. Montana Democratic Senator Jon Tester introduced a bill to reverse the Treasury directive, citing a “threat to our democracy.” Democracy 21 President Fred Wertheimer blasted Treasury for opening a “massive loophole for foreign money” just as evidence of Russian political meddling piles up. But the Treasury directive, while appallingly timed, is just one part of a much broader...

The Teacher Paradox: Educators Organize Under Fire

(AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
By rights, the nation’s teachers should be reeling this summer from a potentially crippling one-two punch. The Supreme Court dealt teachers the first blow on June 27 with its Janus v. AFSCME ruling, which could drastically shrink the budgets of all public employee unions, including the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association. The next day, several far-right groups launched a multimillion-dollar campaign to urge teachers to ditch their unions, sending thousands of emails directly to schools. But instead of crumpling, teachers are punching back hard. Unprecedented numbers of educators are running for public office . Teachers union membership is going up, not down. And the anti-union emails blasted to teachers by such conservative groups as the Mackinac Center for Public Policy appear to have backfired, at least for the moment. “I have never seen the energy I am seeing right now,” says AFT President Randi Weingarten. “The membership...

What Trump Administration Corruption Lays Bare: Ineffectual Ethics Rules

democracy_rules.jpg In an administration run by a president whose properties have scooped up millions in political and taxpayer money, the daily onslaught of ethics complaints and investigations into self-dealing by top Trump Cabinet officials should come as no surprise. A full catalogue of Cabinet-level corruption would fill a book, from Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s real estate dealings with an oil industry executive to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross’s lucrative short sale of shipping company stock. But one Trump team member surpasses all others in his flagrant disregard for federal conflict-of-interest rules: Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt, who now faces no fewer than 16 federal and congressional investigations, with no end in sight. What’s most stunning about Pruitt’s never-ending ethics saga is not the millions in taxpayer dollars he wasted on first-class, military and private travel to exotic locales, on ‘round the...

The Right's Campaign to Expand Voter Purges

democracy_rules.jpg The Supreme Court’s recent ruling to uphold Ohio’s controversial voter purge law spotlights the growing clout of right-wing “election integrity” groups that have aggressively bullied and sued states and jurisdictions into kicking thousands of voters off their rolls. Such groups, which include the deep-pocketed legal outfit Judicial Watch, and the Public Interest Legal Foundation, headed by J. Christian Adams, a leading proponent of voter fraud myths, hailed the high court’s ruling in Husted v. A. Philip Randolph Institute as a major victory. Both Judicial Watch and the PILF called on states to follow Ohio’s lead and “clean up” their voter rolls—a practice that in Ohio’s case has meant blocking thousands of eligible voters from casting ballots. Cheering from the wings was Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, a key architect of the Trump administration’s voter-unfriendly policies. The Justice...